2019 Fantasy Football Big Board: Injuries, Holdouts Shaking Up Rankings

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystAugust 19, 2019

2019 Fantasy Football Big Board: Injuries, Holdouts Shaking Up Rankings

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    There's no better time of year in fantasy football than draft season. No matter how the year before went, each summer brings a renewed sense of hope and optimism. In redraft leagues, every team has the same chance of winning the title.

    Until the draft, that is.

    There's a saying in fantasy that you can't win your league on draft day—but you can lose it. Tank the draft, and it's a Sisyphean task to keep a flawed team in contention.

    It's critical to be ready to rock when draft day rolls around, and the favorite tool of most drafters in that regard is the big board—a listing of the top players both broken down by position and combined into a long list of who to target once the big day arrives.

    Wouldn't you know it? That's what we have here: position-by-position rankings and an overall big board that's been updated to reflect the latest preseason injuries and news.

    I'm helpful like that.

        

Quarterbacks

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    David Eulitt/Getty Images

    The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Signal-callers get it all: contracts that pay in excess of $30 million per season, shiny MVP awards and plenty of attention.

    However, in fantasy football there's much more depth under center than at the other positions. Assuming your league starts just one QB each week, your odds of finding a viable starter in the middle or late rounds is much better than at running back, wide receiver or tight end.

    This isn't to say that elite fantasy quarterbacks don't have value. Or that they won't put up big-time fantasy points. But unless said QB goes berserk, ala Patrick Mahomes in 2018, the edge you gain under center won't be worth the hole you dig in the backfield or at wideout.

    Resist the urge to reach for one early.

                

    Stock Up

    Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

    Current ADP: 71/QB6

    My Rank: QB4

    Matt Ryan continues to be the poster boy for exercising a measure of patience at QB in 2019—a player who presents elite fantasy upside without the sticker price to match.

    All Ryan did in 2018 was finish in the top three in many fantasy scoring systems while flirting with 5,000 passing yards and posting numbers that looked a lot like his 2016 MVP season. With an improved offensive line and a more creative play-caller in coordinator Dirk Koetter, Ryan can at least back up that 2018 performance.

            

    Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

    Current ADP: 98/QB12

    My Rank: QB13

    There wasn't a quarterback in the NFL whose ADP stood to rise (or fall) more based on the preseason than that of the first overall pick in this year's draft.

    Kyler Murray has had an up-and-down preseason. The first game was good. The second was...not.

    That's not the important takeaway, though. As a matter of fact, if the bad performance drops his ADP, it could be helpful for drafters.

    From what we've seen of Kliff Kingsbury's offense, it will be fantasy-friendly—and play to what Murray does well. The "Air Raid" is all about spreading the field and hitting receivers quickly. It's tailor-made for Murray's mobility and accuracy.

    Not to mention all the time playing catch-up Murray and his team will do in 2019. All hail garbage time.

                 

    Stock Down

    Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

    Current ADP: 66/QB4

    My Rank: QB9

    Andrew Luck's stock isn't just down—it's in a free-fall.

    We already knew Luck had been nursing a calf strain since May. In the past week, reports surfaced that the 2018 Comeback Player of the Year also has an injury in the "high-ankle area" and that his Week 1 status is in doubt, per general manager Chris Ballard.

    Were he healthy, Luck could have challenged to be the No. 1 fantasy quarterback in 2019. It's become painfully evident that he isn't—and there's no telling (given his injury history) when he will be.

               

    Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

    Current ADP: 257/QB27

    My Rank: QB26

    It may not be fair to say Marcus Mariota's fantasy stock is "down." It's not like there was a stampede to secure the fifth-year veteran's services before now.

    But since Mariota has floundered in preseason action, he's undraftable in all but the deepest leagues and superflexes.

    Head coach Mike Vrabel can proclaim until he's blue in the face that Mariota's his guy at quarterback, but there was a reason the team traded for Ryan Tannehill in the offseason.

    A quick hook's coming for Mariota if his struggles stretch into the regular season.

                    

    Sleeper Alert

    Sam Darnold, New York Jets

    Current ADP 180/QB23

    My Rank: QB22

    Per Dan Schneier of CBSSports.com, Tony Romo thinks Darnold has the "it" factor.

    Whatever that means.

    What Darnold definitely has is a vastly improved array of passing-game weapons, a better offensive line and a growing rapport with wide receivers Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder.

    The ingredients are there for a big step forward in Darnold's second pro season, and in the preseason Darnold's looked the part of someone ready to take it.

                      

    Top 50 Quarterbacks

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. Patrick Mahomes - KC (12)

    2. Deshaun Watson - HOU (10)

    3. Aaron Rodgers - GB (11)

    4. Matt Ryan - ATL (9)

    5. Baker Mayfield - CLE (7)

    6. Russell Wilson - SEA (11)

    7. Carson Wentz - PHI (10)

    8. Cam Newton - CAR (7)

    9. Andrew Luck - IND (6)

    10. Drew Brees - NO (9)

    11. Jared Goff - LAR (9)

    12. Ben Roethlisberger - PIT (7)

    13. Kyler Murray - ARI (12)

    14. Philip Rivers - LAC (12)

    15. Dak Prescott - DAL (8)

    16. Lamar Jackson - BAL (8)

    17. Kirk Cousins - MIN (12)

    18. Mitchell Trubisky - CHI (6)

    19. Jameis Winston - TB (7)

    20. Tom Brady - NE (10)

    21. Josh Allen - BUF (6)

    22. Sam Darnold - NYJ (4)

    23. Jimmy Garoppolo - SF (4)

    24. Derek Carr - OAK (6)

    25. Matthew Stafford - DET (5)

    26. Marcus Mariota - TEN (11)

    27. Andy Dalton - CIN (9)

    28. Nick Foles - JAC (10)

    29. Joe Flacco - DEN (10)

    30. Eli Manning - NYG (11)

    31. Case Keenum - WAS (10)

    32. Ryan Fitzpatrick - MIA (5)

    33. Josh Rosen - MIA (5)

    34. Dwayne Haskins - WAS (10)

    35. Ryan Tannehill - TEN (11)

    36. Daniel Jones - NYG (11)

    37. Drew Lock - DEN (10)

    38. Blake Bortles - LAR (9)

    39. Teddy Bridgewater - NO (9)

    40. Taysom Hill - NO (9)

    41. Will Grier - CAR (7)

    42. Jacoby Brissett - IND (6)

    43. Nick Mullens - SF (4)

    44. Tyrod Taylor - LAC (12)

    45. Robert Griffin III - BAL (8)

    46. AJ McCarron - HOU (10)

    47. DeShone Kizer - GB (11)

    48. Colt McCoy - WAS (10)

    49. Matt Barkley - BUF (6)

    50. Nate Sudfeld - PHI (10)

Running Backs

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Even in this era of spread schemes, running backs are still the kings of fantasy football. It's simple: Without a good stable of tailbacks, you won't win anything in 2019.

    In the overwhelming majority of fantasy drafts, the first three picks—at least—will all be running backs. Of the first 12 players in terms of ADP at Fantasy Pros, a full two-thirds are tailbacks. So are 10 of the first 14.

    The position will be hit hard early on draft day.

                         

    Stock Up

    Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers

    Current ADP: 57/RB26

    My Rank: RB24

    Tevin Coleman's a talented young tailback who has finished inside fantasy RB2 territory in three straight seasons, but many drafters have been scared off by San Francisco's crowded backfield.

    That running back picture is clearing up, though. Jerick McKinnon suffered a setback in his ACL rehab that could land him on injured reserve to start the season, and Matt Breida's been bothered by a pectoral injury in camp.

    The last time Coleman was in a Kyle Shanahan offense (2016) he finished 20th in PPR fantasy points among running backs—and that was playing second fiddle to Devonta Freeman in Atlanta.

              

    Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins

    Current ADP: 114/RB43

    My Rank: RB40

    Every offseason there's a running back who surges up draft boards as summer turns to fall. In 2019, that back is Miami's Kalen Ballage.

    First came the news that despite the belief that Kenyan Drake would be the team's No. 1 back, Ballage opened training camp in that capacity.

    Then news broke that Drake suffered a foot injury on the practice field August 13 that landed him in a walking boot and will likely sideline him the rest of the preseason.

    The door's open for Ballage. All he has to do is run through it.

            

    Stock Down

    Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

    Current ADP: 4/RB4

    My Rank: RB6

    Per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects Ezekiel Elliott to show up in shape once his holdout ends.

    "Zeke has the ability to just completely hit the ground running, if I may use that," Jones said. "He has that, and we expect that. He says it, and I believe him, that he's in great shape. So I don't think that'll be an issue when he does come back."

    Every fantasy owner is dying to know when that holdout will end, and the risk it won't before Week 1 is getting more and more real by the day.

                    

    Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

    Current ADP: 20/RB11

    My Rank: RB17

    Given the presence of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson behind Melvin Gordon in L.A., Frankie Taddeo wrote at Sports Illustrated that he won't touch Gordon—who's holding out for a new deal—in the first three rounds unless the running back reports to the team: 

    "I ascribe to the philosophy of drafting elite running backs with bell-cow expectancy in the first several rounds. Unless we receive word that Gordon will be reporting, which I don't expect, then I will be leaving the risk of investing a high pick on Gordon to my league competitors."

    It's hard to argue with him. 

                       

    Sleeper Alert

    Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

    ADP: 137/RB51

    My Ranking: RB35

    Yep, that's right. We've reached a day where one of the best running backs of his generation is a "sleeper."

    On just about every RB ranking, you'll see second-year back Derrius Guice listed ahead of Peterson, even though the former has yet to log a single regular-season carry and the latter topped 1,000 yards on the ground in 2018.

    Let the other drafters target Guice (who still hasn't been cleared for full contact), and then you can pick up Peterson in the later rounds.

    You won't regret it.

                 

    Top 75 PPR Running Backs

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. Saquon Barkley - NYG (11)

    2  Christian McCaffrey - CAR (7)

    3. Alvin Kamara - NO (9)

    4. David Johnson - ARI (12)

    5. Le'Veon Bell - NYJ (4)

    6. Ezekiel Elliott - DAL (8)

    7. Joe Mixon - CIN (9)

    8. James Conner - PIT (7)

    9. Nick Chubb - CLE (7)

    10. Todd Gurley - LAR (9)

    11. Devonta Freeman – ATL  (9)

    12. Dalvin Cook - MIN (12)

    13. Kerryon Johnson - DET (5)

    14. Damien Williams - KC (12)

    15. Marlon Mack - IND (6)

    16. Aaron Jones - GB (11)

    17. Melvin Gordon - LAC (12)

    18. Leonard Fournette – JAC (10)

    19. Derrick Henry - TEN (11)

    20. Josh Jacobs - OAK (6)

    21. Phillip Lindsay - DEN (10)

    22. Mark Ingram II - BAL (8)

    23. Chris Carson - SEA (11)

    24. Tevin Coleman - SF (4)

    25. Lamar Miller - HOU  (10)

    26. Sony Michel - NE (10)

    27. David Montgomery – CHI (6)

    28. James White - NE (10)

    29. Austin Ekeler - LAC (12)

    30. Latavius Murray - NO (9)

    31. Kenyan Drake - MIA (5)

    32. Rashaad Penny - SEA (11)

    33. Tarik Cohen - CHI (6)

    34. Jordan Howard - PHI (10)

    35. Adrian Peterson - WAS (10)

    36. Royce Freeman - DEN (10)

    37. Ronald Jones II - TB (7)

    38. LeSean McCoy - BUF (6)

    39. Peyton Barber - TB (7)

    40. Kalen Ballage - MIA (5)

    41. Derrius Guice - WAS (10)

    42. Miles Sanders - PHI (10)

    43. Darrell Henderson – LAR (9)

    44. Matt Breida - SF (4)

    45. Dion Lewis - TEN (11)

    46. Carlos Hyde - KC (12)

    47. Duke Johnson - HOU (7)

    48. Ito Smith - ATL (9)

    49. Nyheim Hines - IND (6)

    50. Kareem Hunt - CLE (7)

    51. Damien Harris - NE (10)

    52. Jaylen Samuels - PIT (7)

    53. Justin Jackson - LAC (12)

    54. Jamaal Williams - GB (11)

    55. C.J. Anderson - DET (5)

    56. Devin Singletary - BUF (6)

    57. Justice Hill - BAL (8)

    58. Mike Davis - CHI (6)

    59. Chris Thompson - WAS (10)

    60. Giovani Bernard - CIN (9)

    61. Chase Edmonds - ARI (12)

    62. Gus Edwards - BAL (8)

    63. Jalen Richard - OAK (6)

    64. Frank Gore - BUF (6)

    65. Elijah McGuire - NYJ (4)

    66. Rex Burkhead - NE (10)

    67. Alexander Mattison – MIN (12)

    68. T.J. Yeldon - BUF (6)

    69. Kenneth Dixon - BAL (8)

    70. Malcolm Brown - LAR (9)

    71. Doug Martin - OAK (6)

    72. Ryquell Armstead – JAC (10)

    73. Spencer Ware - IND (6)

    74. Tony Pollard - DAL (8)

    75. Darwin Thompson - KC (12)

Wide Receivers

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The wide receiver position has grown in fantasy value in recent years. That makes sense, given that NFL teams are passing more than ever. Not to mention that more and more fantasy leagues now require at least three weekly starters.

    Grip it and rip it, baby.

    However, there's also substantially more depth available at this position than in the backfield. You can (in theory) hit the running back spot hard, circle back later and still build a decent batch of pass-catchers. Or grab one of this year's elite tight ends.

    That isn't to say the high-end wideouts don't have significant value—only that there are options available.

                    

    Stock Up

    Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

    Current ADP: 56/WR24

    My Rank: WR23

    There's one important caveat that bears mentioning where Tyler Boyd is concerned: During his breakout 2018 season, Boyd was significantly more productive when A.J. Green was on the field.

    That's worth bearing in mind given that Green is out indefinitely after ankle surgery. But it doesn't change that fact that Boyd's shown the ability to serve as Cincinnati's No. 1 receiver, and for the first few weeks of the 2019 season (at least) that's what he'll be again.

    That means plenty of targets—and we've officially hit the point where Boyd's coming off draft boards before Green.

            

    Jamison Crowder, New York Jets

    Current ADP: 164/WR58

    My Rank: WR49

    According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, Jamison Crowder hasn't wasted any time in making an impression on Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.

    "He's so quick," Darnold said. "Everyone knows how quick he is, but he's fast, too. I think he can hit another gear, too."

    Crowder's also quickly developed a rapport with Darnold, which has been evident in the preseason. The 26-year-old receiver has shown the ability to be a productive fantasy asset in PPR formats in the past.

    There's no reason he can't be again.

                    

    Stock Down

    Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders

    Current ADP: 22/WR9

    My Rank: WR11

    I haven't given up on Antonio Brown in Oakland. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if the folks who got Brown at an even lower slot than I have him ranked during the recent headwear kerfuffle wind up with a nice value.

    But the dark clouds can't be ignored. Whether it's the helmet grievance with the NFL, his frostbitten feet or the absence from camp, it's been one thing after another with the mercurial wideout of late.

    On the heels of last year's late-season implosion in Pittsburgh, it's getting harder to justify a second-round investment in Brown, despite his sky-high fantasy ceiling.

                         

    Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

    Current ADP: 82/WR34

    My Rank: WR41

    A lot of drafters predicted a breakout season for Dante Pettis in 2019. But as head coach Kyle Shanahan told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, it's not guaranteed that Pettis will even start.

    "We're trying to find out who are starting wide receivers are," Shanahan said. "And I wanted to give him a chance to get out there … Dante's got a lot of room to grow. He can still get a lot better. And so can a lot of other guys."

    An up-and-down preseason hasn't helped Pettis. He's a talented young pass-catcher, but he needs to get in gear soon to be of use to fantasy drafters in 2019.

              

    Sleeper Alert

    Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers

    ADP: WR43, 107

    My Ranking: WR41

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in an interview with the NFL Network earlier this summer that Marquez Valdes-Scantling has had a great offseason.

    "I think one guy that's really jumped out in the spring for us was Marquez. He's always obviously timing very fast, but now I think he's playing to his time," Rodgers said. "... Marquez is starting to play with more confidence, and that's pretty good to see."

    Heading into his second season, Valdes-Scantling appears to be in the lead to serve as Green Bay's No. 2 wideout next to Davante Adams. If he wins the job, it will be grand theft receiver at this ADP—which is climbing of late.

    Get while the getting's good.

             

    Top 75 PPR Wide Receivers

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. DeAndre Hopkins - HOU (10)

    2. Davante Adams - GB (11)

    3. Michael Thomas - NO (9)

    4. Julio Jones - ATL (9)

    5. Odell Beckham Jr. - CLE (7)

    6. Tyreek Hill - KC (12)

    7. Keenan Allen - LAC (12)

    8. JuJu Smith-Schuster - PIT (7)

    9. Mike Evans - TB (7)

    10. T.Y. Hilton - IND (6)

    11. Antonio Brown - OAK (6)

    12. Amari Cooper - DAL (8)

    13. Adam Thielen - MIN (12)

    14. Stefon Diggs - MIN (12)

    15. Robert Woods - LAR (9)

    16. Kenny Golladay - DET (5)

    17. Brandin Cooks - LAR (9)

    18. Julian Edelman - NE (10)

    19. Tyler Lockett - SEA (11)

    20. Chris Godwin - TB (7)

    21. Alshon Jeffery - PHI (10)

    22. Cooper Kupp - LAR (9)

    23. Tyler Boyd - CIN (9)

    24. A.J. Green - CIN (9)

    25. Calvin Ridley - ATL (9)

    26. Allen Robinson II - CHI (6)

    27. Jarvis Landry - CLE (7)

    28. DJ Moore - CAR (7)

    29. Mike Williams - LAC (12)

    30. Josh Gordon - NE (10)

    31. Robby Anderson - NYJ (4)

    32. Marvin Jones Jr. - DET (5)

    33. Christian Kirk - ARI (12)

    34. Sammy Watkins - KC (12)

    35. Will Fuller V - HOU (10)

    36. Corey Davis - TEN (11)

    37. Sterling Shepard - NYG (11)

    38. Courtland Sutton - DEN (10)

    39. DeSean Jackson - PHI (10)

    40. Larry Fitzgerald - ARI (12)

    41. Marquez Valdes-Scantling - GB (11)

    42. Dante Pettis - SF (4)

    43. Dede Westbrook - JAC (10)

    44. Curtis Samuel - CAR (7)

    45. Geronimo Allison - GB (11)

    46. Emmanuel Sanders - DEN (10)

    47. Keke Coutee - HOU (10)

    48. John Brown - BUF (6)

    49. Tyrell Williams - OAK (6)

    50. Jamison Crowder - NYJ (4)

    51. Golden Tate - NYG (11)

    52. Anthony Miller - CHI (6)

    53. N'Keal Harry - NE (10)

    54. D.K. Metcalf - SEA (11)

    55. Donte Moncrief - PIT (7)

    56. Devin Funchess - IND (6)

    57. Kenny Stills - MIA (5)

    58. Michael Gallup - DAL (8)

    59. James Washington - PIT (7)

    60. DaeSean Hamilton - DEN (10)

    61. Robert Foster - BUF (6)

    62. Marquise Goodwin - SF (4)

    63. Mohamed Sanu - ATL (9)

    64. Albert Wilson - MIA (5)

    65. Devante Parker - MIA (5)

    66. Tre'Quan Smith - NO (9)

    67. Zay Jones - BUF (6)

    68. Deebo Samuel - SF (4)

    69. David Moore - SEA (11)

    70. Adam Humphries - TEN (11)

    71. Quincy Enunwa - NYJ (4)

    72. Antonio Callaway - CLE (7)

    73. Marqise Lee - JAC (10)

    74. Marquise Brown - BAL (8)

    75. Parris Campbell - IND (6)

Tight Ends

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    The tight end position in 2019 is all about two groups.

    The first consists of drafters who are willing to invest a substantial amount of capital in one of this year's Big Three at the position: Travis Kelce of the Chiefs, Zach Ertz of the Eagles and George Kittle of the 49ers all had fantastic statistical seasons in 2018. But shares of those players won't come cheaply—all three are coming off the board by the end of Round 3.

    The second consists of everyone else. This isn't to say that there won't be a tight end who rises up to challenge that trio. But the relatively sure things run out quickly. After that, it's a mixture of up-and-coming youngsters with question marks and aging veterans.

    In 2019, this position is all about tolerance for risk—a willingness to chance a hole at running back or wide receiver for an edge at tight end.

              

    Stock Up

    Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

    Current ADP: 65/TE6

    My Rank: TE5

    Fantasy owners who aren't willing to pay retail for a Big Three tight end are looking for the young player most likely to crack that top tier.

    In that regard, my money's still on New York's Evan Engram—but more and more people are warming to the idea that Hunter Henry has a real shot too.

    Before losing all of last year to an ACL tear, Henry showed he had Philip Rivers' confidence in the red zone—which isn't surprising given so many years of Rivers-to-Antonio Gates in that part of the field.

    Now, with Melvin Gordon possibly holding out well into the regular season, that short passing game by the goal line may become an even bigger factor—and a healthy Henry could be on the brink of a career year.

                  

    Stock Down

    Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

    Current ADP: 80/TE8

    My Rank: TE11

    Everyone on the Colts offense is seeing some sort of slide with Andrew Luck's Week 1 status in doubt.

    But no player may be set for a bigger hit to his fantasy value than Eric Ebron.

    Ebron's breakout 2018 was born of his rapport with Luck in the red zone. The odds weren't great that he'd match last year's 13 touchdowns with Luck on the field. They're exponentially worse if Jacoby Brissett is guiding the offense.

    Add in Jack Doyle's return to the lineup after hip and kidney surgeries, and fantasy drafters who chase Ebron's 2018 numbers are just begging for a massive letdown.

                     

    Sleeper Alert

    Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

    Current ADP: 158/TE19

    My Rank: TE16

    Per Clifton Brown of the Ravens' website, Mark Andrews said he intends to take things up a notch in 2019:

    "In my head, I have high expectations and I plan to meet them, but I'm excited for this year. We're going to have a bunch of great guys. There are a lot of great skill position guys that it's going to be tough for defenses to stop. It's kind of a pick-your-poison type of thing. It's going to be a fun year, and I'm super excited."

    Andrews and Lamar Jackson have consistently connected on the practice field this summer, per Brown. If it carries over into the regular season, Andrews could be a league-winner—a weekly starter at thin position available in the 14th round.

                  

    Top 50 PPR Tight Ends

    Bye weeks in parentheses

    1. Travis Kelce - KC (12)

    2. Zach Ertz - PHI (10)

    3. George Kittle - SF (4)

    4. Evan Engram - NYG (11)

    5. Hunter Henry - LAC (12)

    6. O.J. Howard - TB (7)

    7. Jared Cook - NO (9)

    8. David Njoku - CLE (7)

    9. Austin Hooper - ATL (9)

    10. Vance McDonald - PIT (7)

    11. Eric Ebron - IND (6)

    12. Trey Burton - CHI (6)

    13. Delanie Walker - TEN (11)

    14. Jack Doyle - IND (6)

    15. Jimmy Graham - GB (11)

    16. Mark Andrews - BAL (8)

    17. Kyle Rudolph - MIN (12)

    18. Jordan Reed - WAS (10)

    19. Greg Olsen - CAR (7)

    20. Chris Herndon - NYJ (4)

    21. Dallas Goedert - PHI (10)

    22. T.J. Hockenson - DET (5)

    23. Mike Gesicki - MIA (5)

    24. Tyler Eifert - CIN (9)

    25. Noah Fant - DEN (10)

    26. Gerald Everett - LAR (9)

    27. Cameron Brate - TB (7)

    28. Jason Witten - DAL (8)

    29. Hayden Hurst - BAL (8)

    30. Ricky Seals-Jones - ARI (12)

    31. Jonnu Smith - TEN (11)

    32. Ian Thomas - CAR (7)

    33. Nick Vannett - SEA (11)

    34. Will Dissly - SEA (11)

    35. Irv Smith Jr. - MIN (12)

    36. Charles Clay - ARI (12)

    37. Vernon Davis - WAS (10)

    38. Ben Watson - NE (10)

    39. Darren Waller - OAK (6)

    40. Jordan Thomas - HOU (10)

    41. Jake Butt - DEN (10)

    42. C.J. Uzomah - CIN (9)

    43. Geoff Swaim - JAC (10)

    44. Matt LaCosse - NE (10)

    45. Luke Willson - OAK (6)

    46. Dawson Knox - BUF (6)

    47. Josh Oliver - JAC (10)

    48. Jace Sternberger - GB (11)

    49. Adam Shaheen - CHI (6)

    50. Jesse James - DET (5)

Kickers and Defenses

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Remember when adults used to tell you patience was a virtue?

    When it comes to drafting fantasy defenses and kickers, they were right.

    It might be tempting to reach in the middle rounds for an elite defense like that of the Chicago Bears. But defenses are notoriously volatile, and their production is based largely on stats like takeaways that are hard to duplicate from year to year.

    The better use of fantasy draft capital is taking a defense late with some favorable matchups early in the season. When those matchups dry up, just grab another defense off the waiver wire and repeat the cycle.

    Streaming works.

    Where kickers are concerned, there's no reason to draft one before the last round. The difference in scoring between the No. 1 kicker and the No. 12 kicker is negligible—just over two fantasy points per game in 2018.

    Don't waste a selection that could better be used on an upside pick at another position.

                     

    Top 25 Defenses

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. Chicago Bears (6)

    2. Jacksonville Jaguars (10)

    3. Los Angeles Rams (9)

    4. Houston Texans (10)

    5. Los Angeles Chargers (12)

    6. Minnesota Vikings (12)

    7. Baltimore Ravens (8)

    8. Cleveland Browns (7)

    9. Dallas Cowboys (8)

    10. Denver Broncos (10)

    11. Philadelphia Eagles (10)

    12. New England Patriots (10)

    13. Pittsburgh Steelers (7)

    14. Indianapolis Colts (6)

    15. New Orleans Saints (9)

    16. Kansas City Chiefs (12)

    17. Carolina Panthers (7)

    18. Buffalo Bills (6)

    19. Atlanta Falcons (9)

    20. Seattle Seahawks (11)

    21. Green Bay Packers (11)

    22. Tennessee Titans (11)

    23. New York Jets (4)

    24. Arizona Cardinals (12)

    25. Washington Redskins (10)

                

    Top 25 Kickers

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. Justin Tucker - BAL (8)

    2. Greg Zuerlein - LAR (9)

    3. Harrison Butker - KC (12)

    4. Stephen Gostkowski - NE (10)

    5. Wil Lutz - NO (9)

    6. Jake Elliott - PHI (10)

    7. Robbie Gould - SF (4)

    8. Ka'imi Fairbairn - HOU (10)

    9. Michael Badgley - LAC (12)

    10. Mason Crosby - GB (11)

    11. Brett Maher - DAL (8)

    12. Adam Vinatieri - IND (6)

    13. Giorgio Tavecchio - ATL (9)

    14. Jason Myers - SEA (11)

    15. Graham Gano - CAR (7)

    16. Kaare Vedvik - MIN (12)

    17. Chris Boswell - PIT (7)

    18. Matt Prater - DET (5)

    19. Aldrick Rosas - NYG (11)

    20. Greg Joseph - CLE (7)

    21. Ryan Succop - TEN (11)

    22. Brandon McManus - DEN (10)

    23. Daniel Carlson - OAK (6)

    24. Josh Lambo - JAC (10)

    25. Steven Hauschka - BUF (6)

Top 100 Overall

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Now that we've broken things down by position, here's a look at the top 100 players for 2019 in fantasy leagues that award a point for receptions.

    However, before we release the kraken, a note or three.

    This isn't a "draft-by-numbers" list—when the big day arrives, you shouldn't just draft the highest-ranked player available when it's your turn.

    Lineup requirements and league scoring will have a significant impact. There are also players who will be drafted earlier (or later) than their ranking here would indicate—for better or worse.

    At quarterback, I hope the drafters in your league have enough understanding of positional scarcity to know better than to reach too early for any signal-caller—even Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. But Mahomes' ADP at Fantasy Pros is a whopping 21 slots higher than his ranking here.

    Early in Round 2 is too early to draft any quarterback in leagues that start just one each week—period. But the reality is Mahomes won't last until the first pick of Round 4 in the vast majority of fantasy drafts.

    There's a flip side to that coin. Devonta Freeman's ADP of 34th overall is substantially later than my ranking of the Falcons tailback in the top 20. Players such as Freeman, who have a higher ranking than ADP, can be looked at as an opportunity for value—and a challenge to try to find the sweet spot for drafting them.

    More so than usual, the top of Round 1 is the place to be in fantasy drafts in 2019. Drafters who land a top-three pick can get both one of this year's elite tailbacks and get a viable WR1 in Round 2 or even early in Round 3.

    However, something can be said for the back end. Picking between Nos. 10 and 12 in a 12-team league means two selections inside the top 15—and a nice foundation for your squad.

    Then there's the Travis Kelce conundrum. The Chiefs tight end has an ADP of 18, but given the edge I expect Kelce to afford fantasy owners this year, he's inside my top 10. Kelce is a viable first-rounder in the back half of Round 1, but if you can get him at any point in the second round, consider yourself fortunate.

               

    Top 100 PPR Players Overall

    Bye week in parentheses

    1. Saquon Barkley, RB - NYG (11)

    2. Christian McCaffrey, RB - CAR (7)

    3. Alvin Kamara, RB - NO (9)

    4. David Johnson, RB - ARI (12)

    5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR - HOU (10)

    6. Davante Adams, WR - GB (11)

    7. Travis Kelce, TE - KC (12)

    8. Michael Thomas, WR - NO (9)

    9. Le'Veon Bell, RB - NYJ (4)

    10. Ezekiel Elliott, RB - DAL (8)

    11. Joe Mixon, RB - CIN (9)

    12. James Conner, RB - PIT (7)

    13. Julio Jones, WR - ATL (9)

    14. Odell Beckham Jr., WR - CLE (7)

    15. Nick Chubb, RB - CLE (7)

    16. Tyreek Hill, WR - KC (12)

    17. Todd Gurley, RB - LAR (9)

    18. Devonta Freeman, RB - ATL (9)

    19. Keenan Allen, WR - LAC (12)

    20. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - PIT (7)

    21. Dalvin Cook, RB - MIN (12)

    22. Zach Ertz, TE - PHI (10)

    23. Mike Evans, WR - TB (7)

    24. T.Y. Hilton, WR - IND (6)

    25. Kerryon Johnson, RB - DET (5)

    26. Antonio Brown, WR - OAK (6)

    27. Amari Cooper, WR - DAL (8)

    28. Damien Williams, RB - KC (12)

    29. Marlon Mack, RB - IND (6)

    30. Adam Thielen, WR - MIN (12)

    31. Aaron Jones, RB - GB (11)

    32. Melvin Gordon, RB, LAC (12)

    33. Leonard Fournette, RB - JAC (10)

    34. Derrick Henry, RB - TEN (11)

    35. Stefon Diggs, WR - MIN (12)

    36. Robert Woods, WR - LAR (9)

    37. Patrick Mahomes, QB - KC (12)

    38. Kenny Golladay, WR - DET (5)

    39. Brandin Cooks, WR - LAR (9)

    40. George Kittle, TE - SF (4)

    41. Julian Edelman, WR - NE (10)

    42. Kenyan Drake, RB - MIA (5)

    43. Tyler Lockett, WR - SEA (11)

    44. Evan Engram, TE - NYG (11)

    45. Josh Jacobs, RB - OAK (6)

    46. Phillip Lindsay, RB - DEN (10)

    47. Mark Ingram II, RB - BAL (8)

    48. Chris Godwin, WR - TB (7)

    49. Chris Carson, RB - SEA (11)

    50. Deshaun Watson, QB - HOU (10)

    51. Tevin Coleman, RB - SF (4)

    52. Alshon Jeffery, WR - PHI (10)

    53. Lamar Miller, RB - HOU (10)

    54. Cooper Kupp, WR - LAR (9)

    55. Tyler Boyd, WR - CIN (9)

    56. Sony Michel, RB - NE (10)

    57. A.J. Green, WR - CIN (9)

    58. Calvin Ridley, WR - ATL (9)

    59. Allen Robinson II, WR - CHI (6)

    60. Hunter Henry, TE - LAC (12)

    61. Jarvis Landry, WR - CLE (7)

    62. Aaron Rodgers, QB - GB (11)

    63. David Montgomery, RB - CHI (6)

    64. DJ Moore, WR - CAR (7)

    65. Mike Williams, WR - LAC (12)

    66. Matt Ryan, QB - ATL (9)

    67. O.J. Howard, TE - TB (7)

    68. Baker Mayfield, QB - CLE (7)

    69. James White, RB - NE (10)

    70. Josh Gordon, WR - NE (10)

    71. Austin Ekeler, RB - LAC (12)

    72. Latavius Murray, RB - NO (9)

    73. Robby Anderson, WR - NYJ (4)

    74. Rashaad Penny, RB - SEA (11)

    75. Marvin Jones Jr., WR - DET (5)

    76. Tarik Cohen, RB - CHI (6)

    77. Christian Kirk, WR - ARI (12)

    78. Jordan Howard, RB - PHI (10)

    79. Russell Wilson, QB - SEA (11)

    80. Sammy Watkins, WR - KC (12)

    81. Carson Wentz, QB - PHI (10)

    82. Cam Newton, QB - CAR (7)

    83. Andrew Luck, QB - IND (6)

    84. Drew Brees, QB - NO (9)

    85. Will Fuller V, WR - HOU (10)

    86. Jared Cook, TE - NO (9)

    87. Adrian Peterson, RB - WAS (10)

    88. Corey Davis, WR - TEN (11)

    89. Sterling Shepard, WR - NYG (11)

    90. David Njoku, TE - CLE (7)

    91. Jared Goff, QB - LAR (9)

    92. Courtland Sutton, WR - DEN (10)

    93. Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT (7)

    94. Austin Hooper, TE - ATL (9)

    95. DeSean Jackson, WR - PHI (10)

    96. Larry Fitzgerald, WR - ARI (12)

    97. Vance McDonald, TE - PIT (7)

    98. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR - GB (11)

    99. Philip Rivers, QB - LAC (12)

    100. Royce Freeman, RB - DEN (10)

                         

    Average draft position (ADP) data courtesy of Fantasy Pros.